Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Questions (844)

Paul Kehoe

Question:

844. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the funding options available for childcare providers (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24181/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

A key priority for me as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs is to support the Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare sector through the provision of capital funding where it is most needed.  

I have allocated significant funding in recent years for this purpose and for improving the quality of infrastructure nationwide.

In 2019, I have secured an Early Learning and Care and School Age Capital budget of €6.1m for the sector which will enable a focus on increasing the number of places available.

This funding is to be delivered in three strands, as follows:

- €4.23m will be available under Strand A, which will offer grants of up to €50,000 to early learning and care providers for the creation of new places for 0-3 year-olds where demand for these is clearly evidenced.

- €875,000 will be available under Strand B, which will offer individual grants of up to €15,000 to aid community/not-for-profit early learning and care services in addressing fire safety issues.

- Finally there will be €1m for Strand C, which will offer individual grants of up to €20,000 to school age childcare providers for the creation of new school age places where demand for these is clearly demonstrated.

Appraisals for 2019 Early Learning and Care and School Age Capital programmes are near completion with funding decisions expected to be announced within coming weeks.  There will be no further Capital programmes in 2019.

Although both Community and Private services play a vital role in their communities, financial supports are currently targeted at the Community Sector. It is unfortunately not possible for my Department to provide direct financial assistance to private childcare services at present. I would recommend that the service contact Pobal immediately. Pobal have a dedicated team that assess services facing crisis situations and are able to provide non-financial assistance or support.

Planning for 2020's Capital offering is currently underway and the details of this will be communicated to providers in due course. The service may be able to apply for this funding next year when details are announced.